Earlier today I put in a request for the Astros offense to break out of the doldrums. Ask and you shall receive! The Astros bats came out smoking and the team coasted to a 12-0 win behind a stellar pitching performance from Wandy Rodriguez.
Jose Altuve got things going with a tremendous defensive play in the top of the first inning. With Dee Gordon on second base, Matt Kemp hit a pop fly into foul territory behind first base. Altuve ranged far to his left and made a sliding over-the-shoulder catch within a few feet of the stands. Altuve’s play was huge because Kemp has been the hottest hitter in baseball this April. If that ball had fallen, chances are Kemp would have taken advantage and done some serious damage like he had in the first two games of the series.
Juan Rivera‘s error in the bottom of the inning proved costly when Carlos Lee hit a 2-run homer into the Crawford Boxes to put the Astros on the board. Chad Billingley walked a couple of batters in the second and Jordan Schafer made him pay. Schafer lifted a grand slam homer just out of the reach of a leaping Andre Ethier and the rout was on. Wandy Rodriguez was working his magic and the outcome of this game was decided early on.
Rodriguez left the game after seven scoreless innings, having thrown 107 pitches. Fernando Rodriguez and Brandon Lyon pitched one scoreless inning apiece to preserve the shutout. The Dodgers went quietly in the ninth. Lyon barely broke a sweat, sending the Dodgers home with only five pitches.
The Astros were opportunistic at the plate, needing only twelve hits to plate as many runs. Houston took advantage of six free passes (including a HBP) and three Dodgers errors on the day. Jason Castro and Chris Johnson had two hits each to lead the attack. It was the second straight getaway day blowout for the Astros who now head to Milwaukee to start a six game road trip. It will be the first time the Astos face a central division opponent this season. Lucas Harrell gets the start against Zack Greinke in Monday night’s series opener. After three games at Miller Park the Astros will head to Cincinnati for a weekend series against the Reds.